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“Anything is possible, no matter who you are” says Natasha

20 July 2015

An inspirational young woman from Sheffield who has a passion for enabling older people to get the most out of their life is relishing her new career at a pioneering day service.

 

Natasha Wilson (21), who lives in Hackenthorpe but is originally from Dore, is working as a wellbeing assistant coordinator at Age UK Sheffield’s wellbeing centre in Norfolk Heritage Park.

 

The former All Saints Catholic High School pupil, who was born with Arthrogryposis, a physical disability which affects her joints which means that she uses an electric wheelchair, is also currently awaiting the results of her University of Sheffield degree in health and human sciences.

 

 

Natasha said: “Health and social care have been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember, and so it feels only natural that they are the two industries in which I am pursuing a career.

 

“I have had bad experiences of social services in the past and it made me think how many other people are being prevented from what they wanted to do with their lives because of a disability so it sparked a real interest in that area.

 

“Running parallel to that is a real passion for older people and I’ve always felt compelled to work with them, even from a young age. This probably stemmed from being lucky enough to have my great grandparents still alive for a lot of my childhood, while also being extremely close to my grandparents. I spent a lot of time with them and I loved it. As time went on, naturally, my great grandparents became older and their frailty and need for support increased.

 

“Some of my memories around this time centre around hospitals, care homes and zimmer frames and these environments didn’t scare or upset me, but I was always aware that my relatives were bored, excluded and patronised, solely because of the way the ageing process had affected them.

 

“I can’t put up with being patronised by people and I don’t think older people should either. Anything is possible no matter who you are and we really adopt that approach at the wellbeing centre.”

 

Over 60 people living with debilitating memory loss visit the centre each week providing a place for them to enjoy the leisure pursuits of their choice and explore new interests and activities. It also allows them to meet other people going through a similar experience.

 

Adds Natasha: “We are developing a unique service. We really get to know the people who come here to find out what they enjoy and any new interests they would like to explore. We want to look for things that are out of the ordinary and do things that our members wouldn’t usually do. It’s about encouraging people to regain and maintain their independence and to live their life with memory loss. Yes, there are things you have to consider such as mobility issues but there are ways round these things and I think that is where I can identify with the members due to my experiences.

 

“I am really proud of what we do at the centre and just hope that the level we have set ourselves becomes the norm across the country. Every older person deserves personalised care and it is such a refreshing approach.

 

“I am only just embarking upon a career I have so much passion, enthusiasm and hope for and I know I have a lot to learn but I am really enjoying building relationships with the people who come to the centre.”

 

Age UK Sheffield is an independent, local organisation dedicated to enabling older people to be the architect of their own lives and live life to the full. Over 12,000 people a year benefit from its services. The organisation is dedicated to supporting older people in Sheffield, particularly those who are vulnerable or isolated, to help them retain their independence and get the most out of life.